Published on August 27th, 2014 | by Carver Rayburn0
We Are All Ole Miss & We Are “All In”
The preseason honors and endless lists of picks-n-previews are over. College Football is upon us. Praise be to You Lord Jesus Christ. Unless you have been living under a rock, you already know this 2014 version of Ole Miss Head Coach Hugh Freeze’s Rebels is poised for a breakout season. The expectations in and around the Mecca of Mississippi are the highest since Eli Manning’s senior year.
Ranked as high as No. 15, the Rebels will hit the road for the first two weeks before returning to Oxford for their home opener against The University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Two NFL Stadiums will host the Rebels during the first pair of games; the opener against Boise State (Georgia Dome) and SEC East rival Vanderbilt (LP Field).
Most publications and talking heads have the Rebels at 4-0 headed into the Alabama game at Ole Miss. The strong possibility of this scenario plus the near certainty of an ESPN College Gameday presence make the first weekend in October a monumental game for the program.
“Our theme this year is ‘all in’,” Freeze said. “It comes from a book I read. Our staff went through the book this summer. Now it’s time for us to translate what we’ve taken from it to our kids and show them what the characteristics are for being ‘all in’. If we can get the percentage to be ‘all in’ up in the 80s and 90s, we have a chance to be a special team.”
With so much attention going to the defensive unit that has been put together, it’s easy to forget about an offense waiting to explode. In 2014, All-American Laquon Treadwell will move to the outside, and the big plays will follow.
Couple that with running backs Jaylen Walton and I’Tavius Mathers and the Rebels look to make some noise on the scoreboard consistently this fall. It all rests on Wallace’s ability to control the tempo of the game and protect the football. The Tennessee native says he is at or near 100 percent and seems to carry the attitude and confidence you would expect from a veteran starting quarterback in the SEC.
“The offseason we put in was huge,” Wallace said. “This is the best offseason I’ve been a part of. I feel as good as I’ve ever felt except the first year coming in. I feel 100 percent. Throwing the ball, I can push the ball down the field more.”
Leaders gain attention, playmakers justify their leadership. Coaches recognize that and rewarded eight Ole Miss players with ALL-SEC Honors. On offense, QB Bo Wallace, OT Laremy Tunsil and WR Laquon Treadwell represent Ole Miss. On defense, DT Robert Nkemdiche, FS Cody Prewitt, DB Tony Connor, LB Serderius Bryant, and LB Denzel Nkemdiche made the list.
This article was originally published in The Local Voice #211 (published August 28, 2014).
To download a PDF of this issue, click HERE.